The turf war between BJP state President BS Yeddyurappa and Opposition Leader KS Eshwarappa seems to have escalated, with Yeddyurappa calling a meeting with all BJP MLCs at 7pm on Thursday, but failing to invite Eshwarappa.
Speculation is rife in the local media that the agenda for the meeting will be the expulsion of Eshwarappa from his position in the Vidhana Parishad (Legislative Council), in response to his most recent attack on Yeddyurappa. Such a move could become a huge blow to the Sangolli Rayanna Brigade, which has been the bone of contention between two BJP leaders.
On Wednesday, a day after the BJP suspended the founder-President of the Brigade, D Venkatesh Murthy, for allegedly indulging in anti-party activities, Opposition Leader Eshwarappa had slammed the party President and former Chief Minister for his decision.
Venkatesh Murthy – a former mayor of Bengaluru and a three-time corporator – was suspended after he protested, along with members of the Brigade, against the autocratic functioning of the state unit of the BJP, commanded by Yeddyurappa.
Addressing the members of the Brigade in Bengaluru, Eshwarappa said that Venkatesh Murthy was suspended because Yeddyurappa was insecure about the leader of the Brigade.
“I applaud Yeddyurappa for making Venkatesh Murthy a state leader by suspending him from the party. Yeddyurappa’s misapprehension of the Brigade is incomprehensible. He had agreed to launch the Brigade and later he opposed it. Venkatesh Murthy is a loyal member of BJP and the party suspended such a man without issuing a show-cause notice. The disciplinary committee is silent about the issue. I want Yeddyurappa to become the next CM but he does not want the support of the Brigade. Hence, the Brigade will support parties who support the upliftment of the downtrodden,” Eshwarappa said.
Eshwarappa reassured the members of the Brigade that the forum would continue to meet and that it would continue with its activities as before.
Other members of the Brigade at the gathering targeted former Deputy Chief Minister R Ashok and Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar, alleging that these BJP leaders were responsible for Venkatesh Murthy’s suspension.
Deccan Chronicle quoted a member of the Brigade, NP Amruthesh, as saying that the BJP would face the consequences of the suspension in the upcoming 2018 state elections. Amruthesh alleged that Venkatesh Murthy was suspended for holding a meeting with members of the Brigade, and asked, “If the party suspends a prominent leader for conducting a small meeting, how can the party stop a mega convention of SRB which is scheduled to take place at Kudalasangama on January 26?” he was quoted as asking.
For his part, Venkatesh Murthy told mediapersons that he would continue to be a loyal party worker but would also take part in the Brigade’s meetings.